tv CBS Evening News With Katie Couric CBS December 21, 2010 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
y r wealth to charity. >> couric: tonight, the storm before christmas. california hit by torrential rain, flooding, and the threat of mudslides, and the worst is yet to come. i'm katie couric. also tonight, a holiday surprise. the retail business is bouncing back from the recession. we'll tell you what's selling and what's not. we'll take you to "spider-man," the most talked about and dangerous show on broadway. and the american spirit of giving. billionaires take the pledge. >> to the extent you can help out, if you don't you're a jerk. captioning sponsored by cbs from cbs news world headquarters in new york, this is the "cbs evening news" with katie couric. >> couric: good evening, everyone.
we begin tonight with the relentless storms hitting the west just days before christmas. since friday, it's been day after day of rain in parts of the country known for sunshine. the storm has produced major flooding all along the coast and in other low-lying areas. and mountains of snow at higher elevations. it could get a whole lot worse. another storm is expected to come ashore tonight. ben tracy is on high ground outside los angeles and, ben, i know there's a lot of concern about mudslides now. >> reporter: you're right, katie, that is the big concern. thankfully so far the hillsides in this area have been holding. but take a look at this, this is the hottest commodity in this neighborhood right now: a sandbag. all day long people have been coming here, filling up these sandbags, taking them back to their houses. check this out, this is what they're concerned about to want. there could be so much rain, so much mud, so many rocks coming down from the hillsides it could even topple this wall.
water, water everywhere. knees. >> the water is up past my knees. >> reporter: terry boyd's living room is drowning in six to eight inches. >> every time they let cars keep driving by it makes waves go through the houses. >> reporter: near san diego, firefighters had to fight surging waters, climbing on a woman's car to pull her to safety. and this morning four hikers were airlifted from a flooded canyon in orange county. >> it's been worrisome but they seem to be okay. >> reporter: these five days of steady rain are downing tree after tree, causing rockslides to shut down sections of the pacific coast highway and even stranding horses up to their chests. the worst of it is still lurking off the coast, set to slam southern california with up to ten more inches of rain tonight. those in foothill neighborhoods prone to mudslides are on edge. >> i don't think you can ever relax when it's raining. so, again, you just... mother nature she's unpredictable, you never know what you're going to get. >> reporter: here's the problem: after nearly five days of rain these hillsides are so saturated that what looks like stable rock actually just falls apart.
increasing the risk of dangerous landslides. and now this super soaker is about to set records. already more than seven inches have fallen in beverly hills, nearly ten in claremont and the city of los angeles has seen more than five inches. by tomorrow it will likely have gotten half its yearly rain fall in just six days. then there's the snow. mammoth mountain 300 miles north of l.a. is buried in 13 feet of it-- a record. >> we're getting biblical rainfall. right now mother nature is just giving us a wild ride with unusual weather. >> reporter: and the wild weather has come with many close calls. >> we made nine rescues in 14 hours, and luckily they all turned out okay, but those could have been nine fatalities just as easy. >> reporter: now it's expected to get down right nasty here tonight and into tomorrow morning. we are talking heavy rain, lightning, thunder, hail, up to 65 mile per hour winds. one forecaster said it's going
to be like the finale of a fireworks show, and that's a level of entertainment the folks around here just don't need. katie? >> couric: ben tracy in los angeles, ben, thanks so much and stay safe. meanwhile, in europe, the snow has stopped but many travelers still are not going anywhere. today london's heathrow airport finally reopened both its runways but officials there is say it won't be back to a normal schedule until thursday. bad news for travelers stranded there. some were told today they won't be able to fly before christmas. while some dream of a white christmas, retailers prefer green and it looks like their dream is coming true. results are in from what's traditionally the busiest shopping day of the year-- the saturday before christmas, super saturday. sales were up 15% over last year. anthony mason now on happier holidays. >> reporter: for retailers, five of the top sales days of the year happen in this week leading up to christmas. after a strong super saturday, shopper tracks now forecasting
holiday sales will jump 4% this season. >> it's clearly a turn after two negative years in a row for the holiday season. >> reporter: the winners and losers so far: electronics are up just .4%. sales of 3d tvs have been disappointing. but jewelry is up 2.6%. women's clothing 4.4% and men's clothing 8.4%. and with shoppers spending more on gifts, retailers are spending more on advertising. >> advertisers are more confident about telling us to spend money. >> reporter: mike chapman, editor of "ad week" says companies are taking more risks- - like target with its shopaholic pitch lady. love her or hate her, she's impossible to ignore. >> i'm so excited i haven't slept in days! literally days! ( laughs ) >> in many ways that's the secret sauce is to get attention any way you can. >> reporter: online spending is
up 12% so far this holiday and retailers are using the internet as a promotional weapon to spread word of mouth. >> it's a real fight to the finish. >> reporter: analyst chandi neubauer says sales at abercrombie have rebounded after it started to offer promotional deals to its more than three million fans on facebook. >> if i'm a fan of abercrombie & fitch on facebook and i see this pop up in my news feed, i feel like they're speaking directly to me. >> reporter: after black friday and the just-passed super saturday, this coming thursday is expected to be the third- biggest shopping day of the year. retailers call it father's day because of all the procrastinating dads who will be out looking for last-minute gifts. and i'll be on the list. >> couric: okay. good luck to you. meanwhile, i'm one of those weirdoes that loves that target lady. go figure. more good news from wall street today. the market closed at a two-year high? >> reporter: yeah. we've actually regained all the ground we lost after lehman brothers collapsed two years
ago, katie. if you look at the chart you'll see now how far we traveled. in 2009 we actually dipped below 7,000 on the dow. we closed today at 11,533 for the year. the dow is now up more than 10%. the nasdaq up more than 15% and many analysts believe next year may even be better. >> couric: all right. nice to have some good news. anthony mason, thanks so much and happy shopping. now to another money matter. gasoline prices are on the rise. take a look, gas hit an all-time high of $4.11 in the summer of '08 then plunged after the financial melt down to $1.61. now bill whitaker reports it's back up to just under $3. >> reporter: just when americans are feeling more upbeat about the economy along comes a season spoiler: a big jump in the price of gasoline. up ten cents in a month from a national average of $2.88 at the end of november to $2.98 today. >> look at this.
it's not even filled up, it's already $75. >> reporter: in 21 states and the district of columbia, regular unleaded gas costs $3 a gallon and more. in 23 states, the price of gas is up more than 40 cents over this time last year. >> it's the first time ever that americans will see prices hovering within pennies of the $3 mark during the holiday season. >> reporter: and every dime added to a gallon of gasoline takes $40 million out of consumers' pockets. >> something you have to think of before you go out and buy those gifts and you may have to cut back on your gift spending. >> reporter: analysts peg the price jump to the pension protests in france last month, closing down a major european refinery. the frigid winter in europe siphoning off oil for heating. the hard-driving economies of india and china mean millions more cars in the world. >> because of that, we here in a situation here in the u.s. where
there's a lot more competition for that same gallon of gas. >> reporter: even the uptick in the u.s. economy means more fuel going to factories. all of those factors are pushing gas prices up. highly unusual this time of year when drivers are traveling less than in the summer months. >> this is the time of year when gasoline prices should be falling in the winter. >> reporter: key indicators point to prices rising further. if lower prices are on your wish list, that might be a gift even santa can't deliver. bill whitaker, cbs news, los angeles. >> couric: to washington now where it appears enough senate republicans now back president obama's new start nuclear arms treaty with russia to assure it will be ratified tomorrow. new start would limit each nation's nuclear arsenal to 1,550 warheads, a 30% reduction, and to 700 nuclear-armed missiles or bombers, a 50% cut. it would also restore verifications inspections cut off when the old treaty expired.
congressional correspondent nancy cordes has been following this debate and nancy, this was a hard-fought drown-out battle. republicans really dug in their heels on this one. how did the president finally win them over? >> he worked the phones, katie. he wrote letters to individual republicans trying to address some of their concerns and in the end he managed to win over about a dozen of them, and that's all he needed. >> couric: also, nancy, the results of the census are out today and they show the u.s. population has grown over the past ten years to just under 309 million. also the population has shifted as well, which means some states will lose house seats while others gain them. >> reporter: that's right, katie. most people don't realize the main purpose of the census is to make sure all states are accurately represented in congress and it turns out that more than a third of them are not. the 2010 census reveals the national migration to the south and west.
the populations in those two regions surged roughly 14% over the past decade while the midwest grew just 4% and the northeast 3%. nevada once again was the fastest growing state with 35% more residents than in the year 2000. arizona grew by 25%. texas 21%. michigan, with its struggle auto industry, was the only state to lose residents. >> over the last ten years, actually, even over the last 40 years, the american population has been seeking the sun. they've been moving to the sun belt. population equals power. >> reporter: six states in the south and west learned today that their growth has gained them a seat in congress. florida will get two new seats. texas, with nearly five million new residents picks up four seats. eight states will lose a seat. new york and ohio will each lose two. >> the democrats are going to take a hit because it's their base in the northeast, the upper midwest, the old rust belt
states that are losing population and therefore going to lose congressional seats. >> reporter: and because the census figures determine the makeup of the electoral college, too, they have implications for the 2012 presidential election. though the white house down played those implications today. >> i don't think it will have a huge practical impact. >> reporter: state legislatures around the country will now have to redraw their congressional maps and this can lead to huge partisan battles. here, too, republicans have the advantage because they made such huge gains at the state level in the last elections, katie. >> couric: all right. nancy cordes on capitol hill tonight. nancy, thank you. and still ahead here on the "cbs evening news," 88 down and one to go for the uconn huskies in their run for the record books. but up next, the star-crossed superhero. more trouble for broadway's "spider-man" and it hasn't even opened yet.
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stunt man christopher tierney playing spider-man leaned over the edge of a platform and plunged about 30 feet. >> he falls into the pit, you hear a bang, then the audience gets very quiet and you hear some crying from the lady who was playing mary jane, screaming, crying. >> reporter: jonathan dealwis and his brother michael also witnessed the fall and say they knew immediately something had gone wrong. >> because most of the other times in the show they fall slowly and their harnesses take them down gently. this time he fell real quick. >> reporter: a cable attached to tierney's harness apparently snapped. producers immediately ended the show and tierney was taken by ambulance to a local hospital where he is in serious condition. he reportedly suffered broken ribs and internal bleeding. tierney is a 31-year-old veteran stage performer who's appeared in broadway and national productions of "moving out" and "dirty dancing." in "spider-man", tierney was the main aerial performer in a show featuring the music of u2's bono and guitarist the edge.
the $65 million extravaganza has become famous for multiple aerialists hurdling around at up to 50 miles per hour. >> it was amazing, they were flying all over the place above the audience and they're like in-air combat. it was really incredible stuff. >> reporter: but it's also gaining notoriety for being dangerous. since it began preview shows last month, the musical has seen three other accidents besides tierney's. today officials with two safety agencies and the actors equity union met with the producers who said: also today, the show's director, julie taymor, played a video message from tierney to the cast in which he said he was all right and the show must go on. producers have postponed wednesday's matinee show but say wednesday night's performance and those scheduled afterwards will proceed. elaine quijano, cbs news, new york. >> couric: and coming up next,
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>> reporter: that's right, katie. you can really feel the anticipation rising as most people here expect the uconn huskies to break that 37-year record tonight. earlier today, we watched the team practice and prepare for what could be their 89th consecutive win. i asked the team's coach if it might change the landscape for women's basketball. >> it will raise the level of awareness around the country of exactly what it is that these kids are capable of doing. >> reporter: the huskies' success has put a spotlight on just how little coverage women's sports usually receive. but there is no doubt that tonight all eyes are on this game here in hartford. katie? >> couric: all right, seth doane. seth, i know you'll have more on the huskies tomorrow night, thank you. but right now, in case you missed it overnight, a total eclipse of the moon, when the earth's shadow blocks the sun's light dimming the face of the full moon and turning it red.
it began at 2:40 eastern time this morning and lasted more than an hour. it was the first total eclipse of the moon on a winter solstice since 1638. and coming up next, the philanthropist who eclipses just about everyone in giving. ne in giving. if you live for performance, upgrade to castrol edge advanced synthetic oil. with eight times better wear protection than mobil 1. castrol edge. it's more than just oil. it's liquid engineering.
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>> couric: in this season of good will, we end tonight with people who are setting quite an example. billionaires-- 58 so far-- who have pledged to give most of their wealth to charity. that adds up to more than $200 billion and counting. that's four times the yearly budgets of the national institutes of health, the national cancer institute, the american cancer society, the salvation army, the united way and the red cross combined. i talked with two of the most generous men around about the american spirit of giving. >> reporter: 91 years after his death, industrial giant andrew
carnegie's praises are still being sung. for him, philanthropy was a religion. there's even a gospel according to carnegie. warren buffett's a believer. >> i give away the surplus. >> reporter: so is bill gates. together they're spreading the message that the richest people should give most of their money away while they're still alive. a.o.l. cofounder steve case and wall street tycoon ted forstmann are two of the latest converts to sign the giving pledge. tell me first and foremost, why did you all decide to sign this pledge? >> me? >> couric: yeah. ( laughs ) >> because mike bloomberg asked me to and i said, you know, i already do this so... you know, i give away lots of what i have. and he convinced me that adding your name to this would be helpful, maybe other people would do it as well. >> couric: was it an easy decision or did you labor over it a bit? >> it was... it was relatively easy because of a sense that
when you have the opportunity to have great resources there's a responsibility to use them in a constructive way. >> reporter: steve case and his wife jean established the case foundation in 1997. together, they've supported efforts like a twitter campaign to stop the spread of malaria and an online giving challenge which raised more than $2 million last year for 8,000 charities. >> inner city children... >> couric: ted forstmann cofounded the children's scholarship fund which has given nearly half a billion dollars in tuition money to 100,000 needy children. the charity has changed lives, but the boys he adopted changed his. >> my two kids were street orphans in south africa that i met through nelson mandel. anything where children have a bad deal is what gets me. >> couric: bloomberg, hilton, turner, the giving pledge is the ultimate rich list that's enriching the lives of millions. and their philanthropy comes at
a critical time for charities in this country. the recession has taken its toll on donations. last year, americans gave $303 billion, but that was down nearly 4% from 2008. >> to the extent that you can help out, if you don't you're a jerk. i don't think it's... ( laughter ) i don't think it's great. i don't think what steve and i are doing is great at all. i think if you don't do it you're a jerk. >> we have big problems in this world and we have to kind of join together to try to solve them and this is one way to do it. >> couric: andrew carnegie would agree. >> couric: both men also stress >> couric: both men also stress the importance of giving anything you can so we hope you'll reach out to the charity of your choice this holiday season. and that is the "cbs evening news" for tonight, i'm katie couric. thanks for watching. i'll see you right back here tomorrow night. good night. captioning sponsored by cbs
captioned by media access group at wgbh acce your realtime captioner is linda marie macdonald. caption colorado, l.l.c. toxicologist that i have been talking to, he gave me a list of problems that can come from hexavalent chromium exposure. >> it's the stuff made famous by hollywood. now it is showing up here. why some are disputing the tests that found toxic metal in bay area drinking water. >> the dogs is following me bite my legs. >> first the brutal attack, now the search for the dog that went on a rampage. and another sign of a growing problem. the bay area police force getting special training for this. good evening, i'm grace lee in for dana king. >> i'm allen martin. it's the chemical that erin brockovich fought against in the battle made famous by the blockbuster movie. tonight researchers say th